Team Northumbria head coach Chris Bunten will not be replacing Chantelle Handy amidst a run of five games unbeaten in all competitions.
Without Handy, who scored 24 point in one half against Oaklands Wolves, the Northumbria University side booked their place the semi-finals of the WBBL Cup with a 72-58 win on the road.
“We haven’t replaced her, the team have now said we will share the load,” said Bunten.
“Alison [Gorrell] was outstanding as always and everyone who has come in are really solid players who knock down their shots and create good shooting opportunities for their team.”
Despite the final scoreline, a competitive Cup tie wasn’t all plain sailing as TN came out of the first quarter four points down.
“[Wolves] came out ready to play and were probably confident that we were down Chantelle [Handy],” explained Bunten.
“We came out a little bit flat and our defence wasn’t really switched on – credit to Oaklands, they knocked down a tonne of shots.
“I had a little pop at the team and the girls second and third quarter were outstanding defensively.”
Fifth-placed TN got into gear in the second and scored a huge 27 points to lead 36-45 at the half.
The remainder of the game was dominated by TN, who made the most of their second chance points, scoring 11 in total to conclude a comfortable win.
Bunten will now fix his attention firmly on the semi-finals following today’s Final Fours draw – with TN handed a winnable home tie against Caledonia Pride.
Running up to the game, Bunten revealed that he will be using the league fixture against Wolves to try out some plays his team have been working on in training.
“We will have one game before the semi-final, so in that we will probably look at some different tactics,” added Bunten.
“In the next game it will be a case of how can we show something new without it being obvious to the other team.
“I asked Oaklands for a double header this weekend just for travel reasons and costs – but they declined that which is a little frustrating.
“It just adds fuel to the fire for the girls because they will have to travel another six hours down. But they are a very professional group and we will be 100% ready for that game.”
Report by Dan Simmonite